Warfare in the Old Testament  -     By: Boyd Seevers
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Warfare in the Old Testament

Kregel Publications / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

Understand the OT world better through the warfare that shaped it

Warfare in the Old Testament helps bridge the gap between the modern reader and the world of the Old Testament by using textual and physical evidence to describe ancient military practices. Seevers paints a realistic picture of how Israel and the surrounding nations did battle, adding depthand impact to the relevant biblical accounts. Filled with illustrations, this full-color volume explores the archaeological evidenceand early writings that shed light on biblical warfare between Israel and its neighbors: Egypt, Philistia, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. Of special interest are Seevers's treatments of the role that religion played in these ancient warfare practices.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0825436559
ISBN-13: 9780825436550

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Product Reviews

4 Stars Out Of 5
4 out of 5
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
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4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
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  1. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    technical manual on ANE warfare
    May 8, 2014
    Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Most of us experience warfare only through classic "war movies" or by means of game like Risk. Oh, but then there are the stories in Sunday School too! We hear of David and Goliath, the conquest of Canaan, and the sack of Jerusalem. In truth, tales of war are foreign to our very makeup. If we haven't served in the armed forces, we cannot really appreciate all that goes into fighiting for one's land and the sacrifice and honor it brings.

    Warfare was a fact of life in the ancient Near East (ANE), and Bible characters, like everyone else, were affected by the ebb and flow of the seasons, and "the time when kings go out to battle" (2 Sam. 11:1). The Bible is written in this context of ANE warfare and assumes we know what chariots and javelins are, and why it is that a people would want a king to "go out before us and fight our battles" (1 Sam. 8:20). (Chariots, by the way, were less like tanks and more like mobile platforms for archers.)

    Boyd Seevers gives us a tool in understanding the concept of war in ANE history with his new book "Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies." In this accessible and attractive volume, he itemizes the implements and tools for war as found in the dominant cultures represented in the Old Testament: Philistia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and of course, Israel.

    Strategy, history, numbers and weapons, boats and chariots, siege engines, and armor — all these and more are described in the detail a bible geek or armchair archeologist-historian will love. Maps, drawings, diagrams and sketches fill the pages like a technical manual. Interesting facts are highlighted, like the difficulties with the Hebrew number system, the fact that Akkadian was a lingua franca as far back as the fourteenth century BC, and Persia's invention of the first true "pony express."

    Seevers doesn't just present dry historical facts ad nauseum, however. He offers fictional vignettes of typical soldiers on a campaign before each discussion of the military history of a given culture. This draws the reader in and adds the tool of imagination which helps flesh out the incomplete picture that too often emerges after the archeological digs are done sifting through what remains we have left. His style is inviting, even if at times his rigid arrangement of the material comes off somewhat wooden.

    This book will help situate the student of OT history, and will make a good addition to any scholar's library. It may interest the casual reader, but it may not. The laser focus of the material will not appeal to everyone, but for those who are interested, Seevers leaves few stones unturned.


    This book was provided by Kregel Publications. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
  2. Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Great Resource that Heightens the Imagination!
    April 9, 2014
    Pastor Nathan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Summary: Boyd Seevers explores the weapons, organizations, tactics and motivations of Ancient Near East cultures in Warfare in the Old Testament.

    Review: Warfare in the Old Testament is an absolutely useful reference for ancient warfare as depicted in the Bible. While the Old Testament often reports what happened, it often leaves out how it happened in terms of the battles. This, of course, is just fine. We have all the data we need to follow and know God.

    But Seevers' book helps stoke the modern imagination with historical data on how warfare was carried out. We are given in-depth looks at the tactics of Israel, Egypt, Philistia, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. There's plenty illustrations of weapons, soldiers and war machines to give the reader an idea of how these battles were carried out.

    Additionally, and one of my favorite features, Seevers writes a historical fictive story from the perspective of a soldier from each of these nations to introduce the peoples. These stories are invaluable insights into the psychology and motivation of the cultures explored.

    I also found myself enjoying the many end notes Seevers included in this book . He is a to-the-point writer, but is simultaneously highly detailed.

    As a pastor, I will be returning to this book when I'm preaching narratives dealing with warfare amongst these nations. I am particularly excited to be able to use the knowledge I've learned to more accurately portray the drama of the biblical narratives in my first-person sermons.

    As a modern reader, Warfare in the Old Testament this book has given my imagination greater depth, which in turn, will enhance my reading experience.

    Rating: 5/5 (I Loved It)

    Note: I received a physical copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review.
  3. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Welcome by Military & Bible Student
    February 25, 2014
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This book seems to be written for a double audience: Those interested in the history of the Old Testament and military history. He offers a survey of military history in the Old Testament. I must admit I was looking forward to this book, but came away somewhat mixed. It does help in understanding the biblical and military descriptions of the battles that were fought. His approach is interesting, combining fiction with reality. He opens with imaginary narratives about the historical situation and warfare from the view of the soldier on the ground. However, he does so honestly and in the spirit of the events taking place. It upholds both Biblical and Archeological records. He does a good job connecting the relationship of the nations to the nation of Israel.

    He does a good job of giving the tactics and descriptions of the weapons involved. It is well researched. One will learn more clearly about each of the nations involved. It is organized well and aids the reader. It is very readable and enjoyable. He speaks of things that are vital in areas of military battles—including, logistics, psychological elements and usage; and seasons of warfare confrontation.

    However, I am disappointed in certain aspects of the book. While the layout of the book is topnotch, much of the graphics remind me of graphics we saw 50 years ago—black and white line drawings. Computer graphics could have substantially upgraded this, and it should have been done. Second, the maps are helpful, but they are not as detailed as most battle maps. Some are hard to follow just because of the colorizing of the maps, (for example the maps of Egypt and Babylon on p 253 is hard to follow the red lines of the road because of the red coloring on the Babylonian empire.) Yet, the map of the city of Babylon is very good. Third, it would have been helpful if there were more of theological background concerning what happened militarily and historically.

    As a whole this is a welcome edition to both military warfare and Bible historians. It will aid the Old Testament student to bring understanding of the Biblical record.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the Kregel Academic. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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